The New Bar Scene

Kingston has a pretty happenin’ bar scene, with the Hub (Alehouse aka AJ’s, Stages, The Brass, The Griz and Elixir) drawing huge crowds night after night, while other downtown establishments (The Iron Duke , Brew Pub, Tir Na Nog, Merchant , and Joy) chorale the rest of Kingston’s age of majority card holders. Categorically, the former cater to students who enjoy loud dance music and the odd live concert, while the latter are for those who enjoy a pub-like atmosphere, and frequent concerts featuring local musicians. There’s nearly a bar on every street corner between the Hub and the waterfront, which makes it easy to find a place to grab a pint or cut a rug on any given night. With some new establishments making their way onto the scene, Kingston’s night life destinations are better than ever.

The old standard of Smijies closed within the last year, and re-opened as BarNone, located in the plaza just behind Stages. Although not much on the inside has changed since the days of ‘The Smij’, BarNone has kicked it up a few notches with a regular open mic, loads of locally flavored concerts featuring the likes of Chris Koster , Pelt, Me Man Jack, and Vancougar . Their ‘dress to impress’ dress code, and bottle service could make for a high class evening on the town that doesn’t really exist anywhere else.

On the other side of the Hub, is the Living Room , located inside the Renaissance Event Venue on Queen Street. This place advertises itself as Kingston’s coolest venue for live music, although it’s a bit early to know whether or not they’ll live up to that claim, the early reports are extremely positive. This month they’ve had concerts featuring Ianspotting , Virginia Creepers, Music Maul and Sarah Harmer (on drums, but still cool), so it’s safe to say that the Living Room is also worth checking out soon.

Last but certainly not least is the successor to Gusto’s Italian Eatery, which is now known as Legendz. Admitedly, I don’t even know if this place is open yet, but if I recall correctly, it’s now owned by the same people that used to operate Lino’s. If you remember Lino’s, you’ll recall that it was a bit of dive that catered to the crowd that enjoyed 99 cent spagetti dinners, karaoke and cheap drinks. Although Legendz is being advertised as a night club and eatery, I am not confident it can survive amongst the well established giants of the Hub. That said, only time will tell if Kingston will be kinder to Legendz than it was to Lino’s.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

3 thoughts on “The New Bar Scene

  • Aren’t you to young to remember Lino’s? That place hit it’s prime 20 years ago, and sadly not much changed til it went under. Hopefully Lengendz doesn’t start where Lino’s left off.

  • Ive been to Legendz twice. Once for drinks, once for dinner. The night club eatery is an interesting combo. Legendz actaully stays open until 4 or 5 am. While they stop serving alcohol at last call peeople can stick around and enjoy some nice greasy post drinking food.

    However, my one dinner experience there was perhaps the worst Ive ever had. This was due to the extremely horrible service we recieved. Of a table of 6 only 3 of us received the right food and again only 3 of us had a bill that was actaully true to what we ordered. But does one judge a restaurant based on the worlds worst waitress?

    Their menu is packed full, kind of a sports bar feel, which is not what you expext from the decor they present (mind you I think some of it is surviving decor from Gustos). I had such a horrible time I normally wouldn’t eat there again, but every new establishment has their kinks so maybe Ill give them another shot in a couple of months, if they are still there.

  • LegendZ is actually providing some really great music on Wednesdays. The group “Irish Roots” performing their mix of celtic and country has been playing steady since August ’09. And Vile Richard begins Oct. 21 (biweekly) with their offerings of classic rock, country & celtic tunes. Music kicks off at 6 going until 10 pm where the bass/stereo then kicks in for the night club crowd. A relaxed evening which takes place in the lounge, every Wednesday night offers the opportunity for a jam inviting guests to the stage or at their seats to play or sing along. LegendZ is a great spot for drinks, food and some fine music, to kick off your evening. Every Wednesday 6-10 pm.

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